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Ali Velshi and Terry Fallis on Q

If you and your book club want to tackle The Best Laid Plans, now is your chance! CBC Books is running a contest for book clubs across the country: win a visit from author Terry Fallis. The lucky book club will also win copies of The Best Laid Plans. To enter, tell us why Terry Fallis should visit YOUR club in our CBC Books discussion group.



Yesterday, the Canada Reads 2011 champion was crowned.

The final two books were The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis and The Birth House by Ami McKay. With a 4-1 vote against The Birth House, championed by decorating guru Debbie Travis, the finale wasn't even close.

CNN broadcaster Ali Velshi won his fellow panelists over with a persuasive argument about The Best Laid Plans. He said it was a call to action and a book that promotes integrity in contemporary politics.

This morning, Ali Velshi and Terry Fallis visited the Q studio to discuss what it took to take The Best Laid Plans from self-published satire to bestselling book.

The Best Laid Plans is a literary Cinderella story. In 2007, when Fallis finished the manuscript, he sent it to publishers and literary agents. When no one responded, he built an audience by podcasting the novel chapter by chapter. He then self-published the manuscript and submitted it for the Stephen Leacock Award for humour. It won and the big publisher came knocking. When it found its way to the Canada Reads Top 10 Essential Novels of the Decade list, thanks to online audience support, Ali Velshi snapped it up and debated his way to the top of the Canada Reads podium.

Fallis is thrilled by the win, but gives all the credit to Velshi. "I fully expected to be voted off," Fallis admitted. "I had no expectation of making it to the final round."

Velshi never faltered. "There was no point in which I was not confident that we were going to win," he told Q (and Canada Reads) host Jian Ghomeshi. "I believed in the book. I believed in the larger cause of the book. And I believed in the mathematics."

Despite the resounding win, The Best Laid Plans suffered a few bumps and bruises during the three day debate. Debbie Travis not only hated the book, she admitted she couldn't bring herself to finish it. Travis's distaste for the novel didn't hurt Velshi's chances at a win. He swayed fellow panelists Georges Laraque, Sara Quin and Lorne Cardinal, whose books were already voted off, to declare The Best Laid Plans the "essential Canadian novel of the decade."

Congratulations, Terry Fallis and Ali Velshi!

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